Rebels ousted in first round

CLAREMONT — Entering its CIF Southern Section Division II first-round match Wednesday afternoon, the Flintridge Prep boys' tennis team had little knowledge about Claremont.

A short time later, the Rebels discovered the Wolfpack's strength — an excellent singles lineup.

"They are really solid in singles and there wasn't much we could do," said Flintridge Prep Coach Ron Catano, whose team saw its season wrap up with a 12-6 road defeat. "I thought we could get some more wins in singles, but we couldn't."

Claremont — which had won the previous two Division III championships before being moved up a division — won seven of nine singles sets. The Wolfpack improved to 15-1, while the Rebels finished 6-9.

Flintridge Prep, which finished second in the Prep League behind Chadwick, received one singles win apiece from Alex Wood (6-1) and Eric Kazangian (6-2). Otherwise, Claremont, which captured the Sierra League championship, controlled the pace in the rest of the singles competition.

"It's our strength, and we have a good mixture of experienced players and some guys who are playing at the varsity level for the first time," Claremont Coach Adolphus Payne said. "We also have experienced players in doubles.

"We came in not knowing much [about Flintridge Prep], but we played to our strengths."

Alan Leahy swept his three sets (6-1, 6-2, 6-0) to pace the Wolfpack, which will likely face top-seeded Palm Desert in a second-round match Friday. Also securing a sweep for Claremont was Brandon Yeoh (7-5, 6-0, 6-0). Cameron Lorek earned the other singles win (6-0) for Claremont.

Flintridge Prep fared much better in doubles. The Rebels got two wins apiece from David Chou and William Dixon (6-1, 6-4) and Albert Lee and Koby Hayashi (6-2, 6-1). Flintridge Prep competed without No. 1 doubles player Kent Byun, who missed the match to take an advanced placement test.

"Some guys were able to come through for us, so I'm happy with the way we competed because they tried hard," Catano said. "I think if we had Kent, it would have been closer."

Catano said the Rebels will look significantly different next season. The Rebels will lose Wood, Kazangian, Chou and Byun to graduation, forcing a big turnover.

"Those guys got us the bulk of our wins this season," Catano said. "Right now, I'm not sure what next year will be looking like."

Andrew Lieu and Pranay Yeturu swept their three doubles sets for Claremont, 6-2, 6-2, 6-0. Josh Yu and Harsh Rambhatla (6-0) and Konrad Lorek and Alex Zhang (6-1) each won one doubles set for the Wolfpack.

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